Meet Sarah Bonner Author Of Her Perfect Twin

Today's interviewee is a debut writer you'll be hearing a lot about in the future. Sarah Bonner's twisty, sibling-rivalry psychological thriller Her Perfect Twin is published on 20th January and she took time out to talk to Thriller Women about how she came up with the idea in during Covid-lockdown; the fun of writing morally-awful characters; and who she'd like to be her fantasy twin (no murder required). 

Download the ebook of Her Perfect Twin from Amazon or buy the paperback from Thriller Women's list at NB: if you buy books through this link we may earn a commission from, whose fees support independent bookshops.

Book cover of Her Perfect Twin by Sarah Bonner

TW: Congratulations on your debut novel. You wrote Her Perfect Twin during lockdown in 2020. Can you tell us how that came about and what inspired you to do so?

SB: Her Perfect Twin actually started life as a short story, which was about all I could manage to focus on at the start of the pandemic. But I kept thinking about this woman who was pretending to be her identical twin, and when I realised she was trying to cover up a murder, it became clear this was a story that needed more than a few thousand words!

TW: What was your route from finishing your novel to getting published?

SB: I was incredibly lucky! While researching agents, I came across an event with DHH Literary Agency (called #PitchDHH) where you submit your query for the chance to have a 1-2-1 with an agent. But the deadline for submissions was the next day! I dropped everything to get my application in and was thrilled to be offered a slot. I met Hannah on Zoom on the Friday, she read my full manuscript over that weekend, and offered to represent me that Monday: a complete whirlwind. We worked on the manuscript and went out on submission a month or so later, selling to Hodder Studio in a pre-empt.

TW: The relationship between twins Megan and Leah is a fascinating one, full of shared history mixed with jealousy and competition. How did you decide on each character's traits and their motivations?

SB: I wanted to create this really toxic rivalry between them, with a major focus on Leah stealing everything from Megan (and such poetic irony that Megan ends up stealing Leah’s whole life!). I started with an incident involving Megan’s teenage boyfriend and then kept layering all these terrible things that Leah did (although you get a very one-sided view of their relationship as it’s all told by Megan). I do have to say that their backstory was very fun to write, but I’m glad I don’t have an identical twin!

TW: The book is written from different perspectives and this is particularly effective in rounding out the characters - and providing great cliffhangers! Did you always intend to write the book this way or did the story evolve into it?

SB: With previous projects I’d tended to write 3rd person, but Megan came to me with such a strong voice that I wanted to have her narrate in a very close 1st person style. I wasn’t originally planning on bringing in other POVs until I wrote a scene as Chris as an exercise to help me flesh out his character. He just refused to stay quiet and turned out to have a much darker side than I’d originally imagined!

TW: Without wishing to give a spoiler away, a murder happens very early on in the book and we know who did it. What techniques did you use to encourage the reader to care about the murderer and what happens to them?

SB: I don’t think it’s a spoiler to say that Megan kills her twin as it literally happens in chapter two! The biggest challenge with writing Her Perfect Twin was to make sure that readers were on Megan’s side and want her to get away with murder. It’s quite a big ask! There’s a famous piece of writing advice that, if you want to redeem a character, they need to ‘save the cat’. I took this very literally by having Megan rescue Leah’s cat just after the murder! But I also surrounded her with some of the worst people you can imagine; so her accidental murder almost pales in comparison.

TW: Why did you want to become a writer? Do you now write full-time and if not, how do you juggle your day job with being a novelist?

SB: I’m a chartered accountant and project manager by trade and until the pandemic was working a full time corporate job and writing on the weekends. I was made redundant at the start of lockdown and decided to focus on my writing for a while. I feel incredibly lucky to have been able to secure a publishing contract and I’m really hoping that I can make a second career as a novelist (it is a lot more fun than finance!).

TW: Which authors do you admire and why?

SB: Anyone who writes a book and sends it out into the world deserves admiration, but I think especially those who published their debuts these last two years. Watching the 2020 and 2021 debuts rally together to launch on virtual platforms and create opportunities for each other has been incredible to watch, and a huge inspiration for other new writers.

TW: What's your next book going to be about and what are your author hopes for the future?

SB: My next novel features some of the hallmarks of Her Perfect Twin (including multiple perspectives and a lot of twists!), but the focus is on two couples and a series of anonymous threatening notes. In terms of author hopes; I just want to keep on writing. There is nothing better than a reader saying they’ve loved something you conjured up!

Quick fire questions:

TW: Favourite book as a child?

SB: I adored The Wolves of Willoughby Chase, but also had a real thing for boarding school and ballet novels (Mallory Towers and Drina Dances were my favourites)

TW:Favourite snack whilst you're writing?

SB: Haribo! I love fizzy sour sweets and strawberry laces.

TW: Favourite tipple once you've finished writing for the day?

SB: It’s got to be prosecco; but only if I’ve hit my word count (that’s a blatant lie: I still drink it but feel a little guilty!)

TW: Thriller/crime novel you'd urge people to read?

SB: My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing is a masterclass in writing very morally grey characters.

TW: The famous person you'd most like to be your fantasy twin?

SB: Ooh, that’s a tough one! I’m assuming I get to steal their life occasionally? Given that it’s the middle of winter and freezing cold at the moment, I’ll take anyone who has a gorgeous villa somewhere hot. Well, as long as they have a pool and someone to bring me cocktails!

Thanks Sarah!
Photograph of Sarah Bonner, author of Her Perfect Twin

Exclusive extract from Her Perfect Twin

Chapter One

I have no memory of my husband taking this photo. It shows me lying on our bed in my underwear, eyes closed, a private smile on my face. It is definitely our bed, with the padded leather headboard I have to wipe constantly because otherwise it accumulates so much dust you’d think I hadn’t cleaned for a year. The white bedding with the little blue forget-me-nots is the one I bought in the January sales last month and the flowers perfectly match the electric-blue bra and knickers I am wearing.

I do not own electric-blue underwear.

Chris is still in the shower; he’s humming some god-awful soft rock song as he splashes water around the en suite. Keeping an ear out, I dig through the top drawer of the dresser, spilling plain black and flesh-coloured knickers to the floor as I hunt for the more risqué items at the back. I find a red lace set that hasn’t seen the light of day in… well, probably a year? I don’t know, it can’t be that long, surely, although it’s been a while. But there is nothing blue. Stuffing things back in, I sense someone behind me and turn to come face to face with my husband, wet from the shower, hair hanging around his face.

‘I always liked the red.’ He smiles lazily at me, holding the towel around his waist with a dangerous casualness, like he could drop it to the floor at any time. He raises both eyebrows, gives me an almost imperceptible wiggle of his hips.

I blush and look away, trying to ignore his presence behind me as I carry on stuffing everything into the drawer, the feeling of his eyes on the back of my head.

‘Were you looking for something?’ he asks.

Still facing away from him on my knees in front of the dresser, I shake my head. ‘Nothing important.’

‘It never is,’ he says with a sigh, scooping his phone from the bed and sauntering towards the little dressing alcove.

More about Her Perfect Twin

When Megan discovers photographs of her estranged identical twin sister on her husband's phone, she wants answers.

Leah already has everything Megan has ever wanted. Fame, fortune, freedom to do what she wants. And when Megan confronts Leah, an argument turns to murder.

The only way Megan can get away with killing her twin is to become her.

But then lockdown hits. How can she continue living two lives? And what happens if someone else knows her secret too?


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